DECISIONS! Adult Contemporary, Adult Hits, Adult Standards, Album Adult Alternative, Talk, News/Talk, News, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Classic Country... The decisions are endless and we haven't even started into day parts, hosts, days of the week, :60's vs. :30's vs. :15's vs. long-form, etc. Look, here's what you need to know: this isn't our first rodeo so why spend your resources with agencies who don't know what makes DR RADIO work.
The challenge of listing the FATAL FLAWS in direct response radio is trying to reduce the number from about 50 to a handful. Honestly, this isn't rocket science, but if you're venturing out to try this on your own, you better have a strong stomach and a hefty ad budget. Still, it is doable if you keep the 4 FATAL FLAWS that doom a direct response radio campaign in mind.
You have to know how to measure success by factoring-in multiple key factors. Here are the basics:
a) How many calls you need to drive in per commercial
b) Avg. number of calls received for each sale (avg. closing ratio)
c) Your avg. sale ~ including up-sells
d) Your profit margins (Gross income minus cost of goods, advertising and operating expenses)
e) Your ad allowable (what do you have to earn per dollar spent in advertising to continue on the air)
f) Drag sales (sales linked to previous spend that occur later over the internet or phone)
g) How ad variables perform against the standard
h) How do station formats, day part, ad duration, host involvement affect outcome
i) Percentage of customers who accessed you via the Internet vs. 800 number
j) Closing ratio on the Internet and how you are tracking and implementing lead capture
If you can't answer these questions... hold onto your wallet, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Once you identity your key metrics to success, you've got to track every ad dollar spent in order to optimize the media plan. Far too many direct response advertisers pour thousands into an ad campaign with little or no tracking in place. Tracking your media spend means utilizing sophisticated methods to capture call volume, website hits, referral sources and more. This is generally why toll free numbers are preferred for DR campaigns, but you can also accomplish reasonable tracking metrics with drop-down referral source menus (or enter your referral source or coupon key) if you are driving consumers to your website.
We can't overstate this enough. Poorly crafted creative can flat-out destroy a campaign. The 4 fatal flaws of most ads are:
(a) Overlooking the primary selling points by being too close to your product to be objective.
(b) Getting to much creative input from too many sources equals audio mud. Keep it simple!
(c) Trying to say WAY too much in a spot. Remember, radio listeners have the attention span of a gnat with A.D.D., so don't try to do everything in one commercial.
(d) Failure to change out creative frequently! We target every 3 to 4 weeks.
Rates are important, but they're only ONE part of a strategic and successful radio campaign. You'd be shocked how many agencies puff themselves up trying to convince you they get the lowest prices around. First off, they probably don't, but more importantly - if they're THAT focused on rates, they're revealing how weak they are in more important areas.
Look, even if you decide to give this a shot yourself, give us a quick call and see if we can't steer you in the right direction.